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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 13 December 1999

HOME DEPARTMENT

External Consultants

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what has been spent by his Department on external consultants and advisers since May 1997 funded from (i) his Department's programme provision and (ii) his Department's running costs; [99486]

Mr. Straw: I am sorry that I am unable to provide this information at present. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as it is available and place a copy of the letter in the Library.

Integrated Casework Directive

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library details of the performance of the Integrated Casework Directorate against its four key performance indicators for each week since those performance indicators were first applied. [101491]

Mrs. Roche: The four key indicators are those against which it was agreed that the recovery of the Integrated Casework Directorate's (ICD) business would be measured in the first instance. I have put in the Library a chart giving a breakdown of the weekly output in these four categories since January 1999. The categories are: general and settlement casework; asylum first decisions; asylum appeals dispatched to the Immigration Appellate Authority; and European casework. The chart shows that cumulatively the ICD first exceeded the target on week ending 22 May, and has consistently done so since 10 September.

Public Interest Defence

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the consistency between the absence in UK law of a public interest defence to breaches of the Official Secrets Act 1911 and (a) the UK's membership of the Council of Europe and (b) the UK's human rights obligations. [101390]

Mr. Charles Clarke [holding answer 6 December 1999]: I am advised that the absence of a public interest defence act in the Official Secrets Act 1911 is compatible with the United Kingdom's international obligations.

Prisons (Religious Advisers)

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many religious advisers are employed to work within the Prison Service; and what is the cost of their salaries. [101627]

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Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service obtains advice on religious matters from a range of sources including the Prison Service Chaplaincy, visiting ministers and the advisory group on religion in prisons. It employs one religious adviser. The salary for this post is within the Prison Service grade 7 range of £29,152-£45,984 and the post attracts £1,842 Inner London Weighting.

Fire Authorities

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which fire authorities retain day staffing. [101895]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The fire authorities in England and Wales which have day-crewed fire stations are:



    Lincolnshire


    Norfolk


    North Yorkshire


    Northamptonshire


    Northumberland


    Oxfordshire


    Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire


    Suffolk


    Warwickshire


    West Sussex


    West Yorkshire


    Wiltshire


    Mid and West Wales


    North Wales


    South Wales.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many section 19 applications arising from the Fire Services Act 1947 have been submitted from each fire authority since 1994; how many have been refused; and what was the basis for each refusal. [101894]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The number of section 19 applications submitted since 1 January 1994 (excluding some which were later withdrawn by the fire authority)

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was 259. One application was refused and one refused in part. Eight applications are still outstanding. These details with a breakdown of the applications by authority are:

Fire authoritiesTotal
Avon1
Bedfordshire and Luton1
Berkshire4
Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes1
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough2
Cheshire10
Cleveland3
Cornwall3
Cumbria(1)6
Derbyshire5
Devon5
Dorset7
Durham and Darlington(1)4
East Sussex3
Essex3
Gloucestershire2
Greater Manchester4
Hampshire9
Hereford and Worcester3
Hertfordshire3
Humberside3
Isle of Wight1
Isles of Scilly0
Kent and the Medway Towns6
Lancashire(1)10
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland(1)1
Lincolnshire2
London(2)15
Merseyside6
Norfolk3
Northamptonshire0
Northumberland4
North Yorkshire5
Nottinghamshire and the City of Nottingham9
Oxfordshire(1)5
Shropshire and the Wrekin7
Somerset4
South Yorkshire7
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire6
Suffolk6
Surrey6
Tyne and Wear8
Warwickshire10
West Midlands(1)11
West Sussex(3)4
West Yorkshire(1)11
Wiltshire and Swindon9
Mid and West Wales(4) 3
North Wales(5)8
South Wales(6)10

(1) One application still under consideration; two in the case of West Yorkshire.

(2) One application mostly approved, but a proposal to remove one appliance and 24 posts refused on the grounds that the Home Secretary was not satisfied that the Authority had given adequate consideration to representations that had been made about arrangements for dealing with special fire risks.

(3) Application to remove nine posts refused on the grounds that there were insufficient retained firefighters at the fire station in question for the Home Secretary to be satisfied that the Authority would be able to maintain the national standards of fire cover.

(4) Pre 1 April 1996 Powys, West Glamorgan, Dyfed.

(5) Pre 1 April 1996 Clwyd, Gwynned.

(6) Pre 1 April 1996 Mid Glamorgan, South Glamorgan, Gwent.


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Young Offenders (Custody)

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children below the ages of (a) 15 and (b) 18 years have been held in custody in each of the last five years. [102036]

Mr. Boateng: Information on the number of receptions into Prison Service establishments in England and Wales of persons aged 15-17 between 1994 and 1998 is given in the table. This information is also published in successive volumes of "Prison statistics England and Wales" (Table 3.10 of the 1998 edition, column 4430) copies of which are in the Library. In addition, 107 Secure Training Orders were made between 1 March 1998, the implementation date, and 31 December 1998. Such persons would, at that time, have been accommodated in either a Secure Training Centre or in local authority secure accommodation.

Information on the population of persons aged less than 15 years in local authority secure accommodation is published in a Department of Health statistical bulletin entitled "Children Accommodated in Secure Units". This information is presented on a financial year basis with the last report (Bulletin 1999-6) covering the year ending 31 March 1998.

Receptions(7) into prisons in England and Wales of 15-17 year olds by type of custody 1994-98

YearRemandSentenced
19986,4825,585
19976,6255,617
19966,5135,285
19955,9604,671
19945,7164,120

(7) Total receptions cannot be calculated by adding together receptions in each category because there is double counting. However, double counting has been allowed for in the figures of receptions of prisoners under remand where the figures for 'remand' record only once a person received as an untried prisoner who is subsequently received also as a convicted unsentenced prisoner.


Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children below the ages of (a) 15 and (b) 18 years are currently serving custodial sentences. [102037]

Mr. Boateng: The latest available provisional information is for 31 October 1999 and shows that there were 1,770 sentenced persons aged 15-17 in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales on that date. In addition, a further 99 sentenced 12-14 year olds were held in Secure Training Centres with a further two persons being placed in local authority units in England and Wales.

Information on the population of persons aged 15-17 years in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales is published in "Prison statistics England and Wales" (Table 3.2 of the 1998 edition, column 4430) a copy of which is in the Library.

Information on the population of persons aged less than 15 years in local authority accommodation is published in a Department of Health statistical bulletin entitled "Children Accommodated in Secure Units". This

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information is presented on a financial year basis with the last report (Bulletin 1999-6) covering the year ending 31 March 1998.


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